Back to Resource Centre
Blog Img

Guidelines or Rules ... Which Works Best?

I don’t profess to be an expert in the area of management … I don’t have an MBA, I haven’t written any books, given lectures or been lauded as a “guru”. I have however had a lot of years experience, made lots of mistakes, read a lot of management books, I am married to an MBA and I have written a few blogs on the subject.

So … take this opinion with a pinch of salt.

Here is my hypothesis … the more rules you put in place, the tighter the box you put people in the harder they will work to circumvent your process.

This applies to:

Managers trying to micromanage their people;
Parents trying to micromanage their children;
Governments trying to micromanage business;
Companies trying to micromanage their suppliers.

In essence any person or group trying to manage any other person or group.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

Classic sales scenario. If you have a sales team and you micromanage every aspect of their behaviour the result will be (a) the effort associated with the micro-management will consume your management time (b) the team will make every effort to find ways around the process (c) there will be more time spent on the administration of “the rules” rather than productive selling.

The better answer is to set clear, measurable and MEANINGFUL goals, such as revenues or margin generated. Who cares if they are not in the office at 8:30am IF they are blowing numbers away?

Classic Client/Buyer Relationship. The corporation wants to get the absolutely best deal it can, so it gets its primary supplier to agree to the lowest possible price, with the most onerous terms and conditions. The quality of what is supplied and the level of service will both degrade. This creates a lose-lose scenario and other suppliers find ways to satisfy the corporation, at a much greater price … further demoralizing the “preferred” suppliers.

The better answer is to have looser rules, firm guidelines and a competitive environment that rewards quality, service and value. This becomes a win-win environment.

I won’t even “go there” with the parent teenager scenario … other than to say GENERALLY if you hold on too tight your result will be counter productive!

Government interference is a whole blog on its own … and I may well write that one soon!

I firmly believe that the best results will ALWAYS come when two sides work together towards common goals, with the best interests of both being “looked after”.